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First timer with a few questions - Chinook IPA

Hello NB Forum!

I recently purchased and am now underway on the Deluxe kit, with the Chinook IPA recipe kit. I am brand-new to homebrewing and have been fanatical about reading and hopefully following the instructions, and watching the excellent NB how-to videos. I am so excited to get started in this hobby!

Today is Wednesday and we boiled on Saturday, finishing in the evening. I’ve got the primary carboy down in a storage closet in the garage, which I figured was the coolest and most consistent temperature room in our place. We live in Torrance, CA and it is mid June, so it is starting to warm up out here. I’ve had good amounts of bubbling from the airlock thought it has slowed down somewhat, now that we are about four days in. I notice the wort is churning around less than it did in the first two days (Sunday and Monday).

The main questions I have are:

  1. The temperature sticker (thermometer) that came with the kit shows the carboy at a consistent 74 degrees F. I understand that is a bit on the warm side. Hopefully this will be OK given the yeast and ingredients that came in the kit?

  2. In the future, should I consider using a different strain of yeast for brewing here in SoCal, especially during the warmer months? (We may end up moving to a different part of LA for work in the coming months, and if we end up in a warmer part of town (less coastal) I would probably try to set up something in a closet inside a bedroom and have the AC going for the duration of the summer …)

  3. I’ve been trying to figure out the timelines for my batch. I will go re-watch the video again, I believe it mentioned waiting until the kreuzen (sp?) has settled back into the beer as being the indicator that primary fermentation has completed. Have I got that right? How long should it be in the secondary? How about in the bottles to carbonate?

  4. Will the warmer temperature in my “brew closet” change the length of time for either primary, secondary, or bottle conditioning?

  5. It seems you can rush things and come out with a sub-par product, but can it go sideways if you wait too long in any given step as well?

  6. I read that UV light is bad for the yeast so we are keeping it in the dark closet. However I have been sneaking in once/a couple of times a day to peek in on the process. Are a couple of minutes of incandescent light / flashlight light going to harm the beer?

Any other newbie tips or advice is surely appreciated.

I am not in a hurry, I know this process takes time and I’m willing to wait for everything to go as well as it can.

Thanks in advance,

-Mark

  1. 74 will most likely be ok. Most ale yeasts can handle this but during active fermentation the inside of the fermentor maybe be several degrees higher that what those stickers say.

  2. Always consider another yeast :slight_smile: That is the fun part of it. Consider reading the yeast thread. I recommend the Kviek strains for nearly fool-proof fermenting.

  3. It’s a good rule of thumb when you are learning NOT to mess with your beer. So primary fermentation is over, now what. I would suggest that you do not touch anything for the first 2 weeks. Then if you want take a hydrometer reading and wait 2 days and take another. If nothing happens to those readings you may be done. I typically wait 3-4 weeks to bottle from start.

  4. Sure. It might speed things up. But there is no rush to speed things up. Slower is often better but not always.

  5. You can wait too long but it depends on the beer. Beers like Lambics take forever to make. I nice hoppy IPA or wheat is best young imo. If you’ve been good with sanitation there is generally no harm in waiting a bit. Autolysis is the main boogey man of waiting to long but I wouldn’t worry about it in the beginning.

  6. Light skunks your hops, the yeast doesn’t really care. I would not worry about your closet light. I’m a closet brewer and I never shut the closet door in a fairly sunny apartment. I’ve yet to have a problem.

Awesome, thanks for the quick reply.

In terms of recognizing the end of the primary fermentation process, is that “when it stops bubbling from the airlock”, or a certain amount of time, or what? You mentioned not touching anything for the first 2 weeks. Does that mean, do not transfer to the secondary until 2 weeks have passed? Just want to do my best here!

I was just down in the closet to have a peek. It’s still showing 74 degrees on the “thermograph” sticker thermometer. I counted the time between airlock bubbling and it was roughly 15 seconds. So it is still producing gas in there for sure.

Since this is your first beer I would say don’t transfer to a secondary at all. Instead spend the time you save reading the copious forum postings on multiple websites on the pro/con of doing so.
I only transfer to a secondary if I’m bored, putting some fruit into the mix, or batch aging the beer for long periods of time.
If the airlock is bubbling that much you are no where near done.

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Thanks again for your reply. I have done some reading as you suggested.

Interesting take on not even using the secondary. I envision a small conical “unitank” in my future (I love gear). This seems to solve the “problem” (if that is the correct characterization) of removing the sediment and yeast as well as mitigates potential oxygenation and contamination during the racking process.

Perhaps for this batch I will simply leave it in there for the entire duration. I still have 1oz of hops to drop in for the dry hopping bit. When will I know when I should do this part?

Good stuff - thanks!

I just bottled the Chinook a couple of days ago. Fermented with US-05 at 67° to 68°F for the first 5 days then raised the temperature to 69°. Held at 69° until the day before bottling. Day 19 in the primary the SG was 1.010. Hardly any CO2 in the sample and clear. This means no more CO2 is being produced and most of the CO2 that had been produced off gassed. Dry hopped in the primary. Two days later SG was the same. Bottled with a 5 day dry hop.

Usually I dry hop this one for 7 days but I’m rushing this one to have it fully conditioned by the July 4th week end.

When I harvested the yeast it sure smelled good.

I think 74 F is a little too high. As @squeegeethree mentioned, during active fermentation the beer inside the fermenter will be higher (maybe 5 F) than the thermometer on the outside indicates. It won’t ruin the beer but, you might not get the best results. When I first started brewing, I would frequently be just outside the yeast’s target temperature range. The beer wasn’t bad but it definitely got much better when I started using a swamp cooler in the summer months and a heat wrap (with temp controller) in the winter months.

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Barbarian beat me to it, but I do want to expand upon the swamp cooler a bit.
I’ve been brewing for 7 years now, and I rely on a swamp cooler to maintain consistent temps. I went down to my local tractor supply store (doesn’t everyone have one?) and bought a couple of muck buckets. Big enough to set my fermenter in and fill with water. Once equilibrated, the temp of the water bath will be the same as the temp of the fermenting beer. Take the temp a couple times daily, and adjust by adding ice bottles or using an aquarium heater. It works! In the winter, I can keep the temp down to 45-50 lager temps, in the summer low-mid 60s. Of course I’m in Maine, but the principle still applies no matter where you live.

Me do live on bonaire and a swampcooler the solution for me. 2 bottle of ice around 8 in the morning. 2 at night. Keeps the temp where i do want it for the first ten days

WLP001 CA ALE yeast has never failed me.

If Dry Hopping,
I transfer to wide mouth glass carboy and use a SS Can for the Leaf (or pellet) hops and fill it to the top.

Thanks for the ideas and comments everyone. I am now 11 days in. I have decided to skip the transfer to the secondary carboy at least for this batch.

Approximately when should I add the dry hops? And then, how long should I leave it until it’s time to bottle?

Wifes’ sister requested the Chinook IPA for the 4th of July weekend. Wanted to have it ready so I rushed it a little bit. SG samples confirmed final gravity had been reached but there was quite a bit of CO2 and suspended sediment in the final SG sample. I dry hopped anyway. Instead of my normal 7 day dry hop racked to the bottling bucket after 5 days. Sampled a bottle after about a week and a half with one day of chilling. Some carbonation but the Chinook IPA flavor is not there. Maybe the chilling was too rushed.

I’m chilling another bottle. Will leave it in the frig for 5 days to see if the sediment drops out and some hop aroma comes out after the pour. Compared to other Chinook IPAs that were in the fermentor for three weeks to clear then dry hopped for 7 days this one is a dumper. I’ll let the person that requested it decide.

This is a point of a lot of discussion. I’m a 3 day before bottling guy. Here’s a good read on the subject (spoiler 24 hours can be enough)…
http://scottjanish.com/examination-of-studies-hopping-methods-and-concepts-for-achieving-maximum-hop-aroma-and-flavor/

You could just admit it was rushed… Then very quietly, open the bottles and put back into a bucket, dry hop, excessively, then back to commencing the bottle sequence… BUT, do that on your time… No rushing…
I tend to rush my brews too… But when I do 10 gallons of one style, they both get kegged close to the same time… The one sitting in the keezer longest, conditioning is the “cats meow”! I swear I’ll never rush another… Well, I can’t keep that promise to me self… Sneezles61

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A few pics from last night. What do you guys think? I am at day 17 or so …

Looks like it has cleared and is ready for dry hopping. Did your SG sample look clear without a lot of CO2 in it. My mistake with the last Chinook was dry hopping when there was still sediment suspended in the sample tube. Besides rushing it. I now have a lot of sediment in the bottles. Can’t pour the entire volume.

I’d be purging a keg, have it refrigerator cold… quietly pull it all out and keg… IF you can transfer with CO2, all the better… Do a force carb through the liquid post… 20PSI… Into the keezer… Hook up a gas line in a couple days… Time to sample… Quickly! :blush: Sneezles61

I have not sampled it since brew day. I did pick up a wine thief for this purpose.

I had not planned to add the dry hops until July 16, about 12 days from now. I was just trying to follow the timelines given in the recipie kit instructions (1-2 weeks primary, 2-4 weeks secondary (I counted 10 days for primary and 3 weeks for secondary to keep it in the middle of the range for each). This would have me adding the dry hops at around July 16 and bottling on July 22. I’d taste the first one about a week later on July 29, then keep sampling until they are ready. For reference, brew day was June 16.

Is this a sound plan? To reiterate, I don’t have a keg or other advanced equipment (though I happen to have a CO2 cylinder and regulator from a freshwater planted aquarium I used to have …) and will be botitle conditioning.

I wouldn’t risk the secondary. Instructions should say this is an option from the old days.

Correct my “secondary” step is just adding additional time while it is in the primary carboy. I will not be using the other carboy for this batch.

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